How to prepare for CAT 2021 Exam at Home

CAT Prep at home

How to prepare for CAT 2021 Exam at Home

CAT 2021 is nearly nine months away and this is more than sufficient time to undertake a solid preparation. This is the best time for aspirants to start their preparation from scratch. One of the questions that most aspirants have in their mind now is “how to prepare the CAT from home” and “how to prepare for CAT by self-study.” In this article, let us see how to prepare for CAT 2021 starting from scratch. You can start preparing for CAT 2021 from home, at your comfort through the online CAT course. CAT online preparation can help aspirants from remote areas, working professionals, final year college students a great deal in improving their grasp of the concepts. This blog gives some CAT preparation tips to prepare for CAT, from home, to kick start your preparation.

Aspirants can check out online preparation for CAT as the exam is online and also online coaching would give you time to prepare. Try checking out previous year papers of CAT to know about the level of questions that appear in the exam. Also, taking a free CAT online mock test will help the candidates in gauging their strengths and weaknesses.

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How To Prepare For CAT 2021 Exam At Home:

CAT is an exam that tests the basic aptitude of a candidate. The syllabus of the exam is fairly simple. Cracking CAT is not a tough job provided one is fairly thorough with what one has learnt during schooling and you can prepare for it at home.

While preparing from home it’s very essential to take a structured online preparation program.

The time frame required to have a decent grasp of the concepts tested varies from person to person. Two to three months is enough for someone starting from scratch to finish covering the fundamentals of the three sections.

The exam consists of 3 sections:

1. Verbal Ability & Reading Comprehension
2. Data Interpretation and Logical Reasoning
3. Quantitative Ability

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How To Prepare For CAT Verbal Ability Section – VARC:

In the Verbal Ability (VARC) section, the reading ability of a candidate plays a crucial role. Therefore, aspirants must try to build a reading habit to enhance their ability to assimilate information given in the text. Avoid speed reading, skimming, surfing and other such gimmicky techniques. Read to absorb the essence of the paragraph. Most of the questions that appear will require the reader to infer the information from the passage. Therefore, avoid rushing through the passage. The other questions in the VA section also depend greatly on the ability of the aspirant to comprehend the passage. Hence, a sustained reading habit helps a great deal in improving the scores of a candidate in this section.

Aspirants must allocate at least an hour daily to read. Also, aspirants must try reading articles from different genres to make themselves comfortable with various writing styles. Questions on para jumbles and sentence elimination require aspirants to spot coherent ideas. Therefore, having a strong reading habit is indispensable to ace this section as well.

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How to prepare for DI-LR for CAT:

The data interpretation and logical reasoning (DI-LR) section has become tougher over the years. The demarcation between DI and LR has almost vanished in recent years. Also, it has been a while since the plain vanilla DI questions have appeared in the exam. Aspirants who have a logical bend of mind have a better chance of scoring well than someone who has solved only the conventional questions. Therefore, aspirants must try to improve their problem-solving ability by practising puzzles and other unconventional problems.

Just like the VARC section, practice is the key to cracking this section as well.

Read: How to prepare for DI for CAT

Read: How to prepare for LR for CAT

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How to prepare for CAT Quantitative ability Section:

The Quantitative Aptitude (QA) section can be easily improved with practice. The first step is to revise the quant basics well. More often than not, aspirants tend to skip the basics and move directly to the problem-solving part. Chances are there that the aspirant might have forgotten a seldom-used concept and hence, aspirants must allocate at least a month (those who are thorough with the basics) to refresh the concepts.

We can classify the topics under the Quantitative Section broadly into 5 categories.

1. Number systems

2. Algebra

3. Arithmetic

4. Geometry and mensuration

5. Modern maths

Aspirants must avoid skipping any of these topics completely. The topics with the maximum weightage change from year to year and hence, aspirants must avoid depending too much on particular types of questions. Aspirants starting from scratch must allocate a bare minimum of 1-2 weeks to each of the topics mentioned to gain some decent understanding. Each of these sections is important, and problems often involve the application of 2 or 3 interrelated concepts. Hence, be thorough with the basics.

During practice, when you arrive at a solution, check whether it is the optimum method. Look out for various approaches to solve the same problem. Do not be too rigid to learn new ways of solving. Try option substitution, option elimination techniques for harder questions.

Read in detail: How to prepare for QA for CAT

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We can broadly classify the CAT preparation into 2 main phases:

1.The first phase is to learn the basics well. Aspirants must avoid rushing through the basics. Also, the focus of the aspirants must be to gain conceptual clarity during this phase. Therefore, aspirants must avoid premature moves like going through shortcuts before having a sound understanding of the basics.

If the scores in some sections are bad (say less than 70-75%ile), it’s important to develop the fundamentals on those topics. You can watch these excellent video concepts that cover the ENTIRE syllabus and are very helpful to improve the basics. There are also videos of problems in the mocks. Make careful notes after every video to remember important formulas and tricks. You can watch the videos any number of times till you are very confident about the subject.

The next step is to solve a lot of problems so that solving problems become a part of muscle memory. Aspirants cannot waste time trying to decode the template problems in the actual exam. Therefore, aspirants must try to solve a large number of problems to reinforce the concepts they have learnt earlier. There will be some areas you may not be comfortable with, identify such topics and practice them more. The number of days you allot for each topic depends on whether the topic is your strength or weakness. Depending on the time you have during the day, proportionately allocate it to the 3 sections. For example, if you’re a working professional and you have two hours a day during the weekdays for your preparation, then you can allocate 1 hour for your weak area, and half an hour each for the other two sections.

Once done with the syllabus, solve mixed bag sums from different topics. Get your doubts solved within a day or two, as it’s not a good idea to postpone your doubts.  Also, start taking sectional tests by the end of April, for more practice in a particular topic.

Identify your weak areas and practice them, there are abundant FREE resources to practice from. Practising is the key to success. It is the most important part of the learning curve. Cracku’s CAT Study Room has excellent questions that one can solve. Often students practice their favourite subjects more and ignore some sections completely. That is a terrible mistake. Practice more from the sections that you are weak at. After you practice enough from the study room, you can check your scores by attempting mocks and analyzing the scores.

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2.In the second phase, it is imperative to take mocks and perfect test-taking skills. Aspirants must take a lot of mock tests and learn from their mistakes. Mocks help you identify where you are going wrong. This will, in turn, help you work on the gaps so that you can fill them. Aspirants must try to improve their question selection skills and must try to choose the optimum method to solve the problems. Also, aspirants must develop a strategy for the D-day and test it rigorously before putting it to use.

Start by giving a mock a week in May. From the month of June, you can start taking two mocks a week. During the weekdays you can analyse them and practice your weak areas depending on your mock analysis. It is essential that you analyse the mocks thoroughly, and work on your shortcomings before the next mock.

Do not wait until the completion of the syllabus to give a mock. Start giving mocks simultaneously while you are preparing. While practising, try to maintain the balance among the three sections. Make sure that your areas of weakness do not hinder your chances of getting a call.

And, this process continues till exam day.

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The study plan for each candidate varies, and candidates must devise a study plan based on their weak and strong areas. If you’re a working professional, a daily time table can be as follows (the timings vary from person to person):

Practice Quant / DILR for 1 hour in the morning.

Read 1-2 articles while travelling to work.

Practice mental calculations, solve a puzzle in your free time in the office.

After work time, take a small break to refresh yourself. Then, practice 2 DILR sets, around 15 sums of quant (this can take one to one and a half hour).

Overall try to allocate around 3 hours for preparation during the weekdays, and more time on weekends. Make sure to allot more time to your weak areas.

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Some other points to keep in mind when preparing from home:

Having a peer group: It’s important to have a good peer group during your preparation. It keeps you motivated, and it will also be helpful in discussing various concepts, test-taking strategies, etc.

Prepare for an MBA and not just for CAT. It helps during the interviews if you have knowledge about current affairs, hence develop a habit of reading the newspaper regularly.

Prepare yourself mentally. Cracking CAT requires discipline, and (especially once you start taking mocks) there can be a lot of fluctuations during your preparation, in mock scores etc. There will be good days, there will be bad days. The key is to stay motivated during this period. Make sure not to get overly stressed, it’s important to take breaks during your preparation.

Allot some time for your hobby. Try to focus on your overall personal growth during your preparation. This will also be helpful during your interviews.

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